RogerBW's Blog

Strange Practice, Vivian Shaw 13 January 2023

2017 urban fantasy, first of its series. Dr Greta Helsing is a doctor to monsters: vampires, ghouls, mummies, and stranger things. And now a sect of murderous monks is attacking them all…

Which is a great premise… well, no, it's two great premises, and that's the problem. A story about a heroine being part of a team hunting down a threat in Hidden Supernatural World? It's been done, often, and sometimes very well, and a big part of that side of the plot is basically procedural Polyfilla, completely standard investigations and reverses. A story about a doctor to people with strange physiology, some of whom aren't alive? That's interesting and when Greta actually gets to do some doctoring the book comes alive. Alas, most of the time she's just hanging around with her supernatural buddies, each of whom is more powerful than her, each of whom is a bit in love with her.

Because of that "more powerful" bit she ends up being quite reactive, and is left behind when the men go on their raid. (Yes, she ends up coming along by a different route and Saving the Day, but that's by coincidence, nothing to do with her choices.) I also got a feeling of Kim Newman-esque aren't-I-clever spot-the-reference when it turned out two of Greta's coterie proved to be Lord Ruthven and Sir Francis Varney, though I can't draw a connection between Fastitocalon here (who "used to be a demon") and mythic referents of that name.

There are logical errors (if the "Rosary killer" preying on humans is meant also to be the monks, as is hypothesised once and assumed to be correct thereafter, why are their patterns completely different?), and Greta fails to tell her co-workers about the threat to all of them for no apparent reason except so that she can feel bad when one of them gets attacked. Everything gets resolved by deus ex machina rather than by anything Greta, or even anyone else, does.

There are some lovely moments here, like Ruthven having learned to make latté art because he was bored and had time to practice, or the Devil's taste in cigarettes, but it ends up feeling like too much rich sauce over scraggy meat.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Series: Dr Greta Helsing | Next in series: Dreadful Company

  1. Posted by David Pulver at 02:46am on 15 January 2023

    I proposed something like that to SJ Games (clinic for monsters) around the same time period (2016-2017), but they didn't go for it. I've since seen an anime series suggest something vaguely similar (Monster Girl Doctor or some such excuse for lechery) but a more serious urban fantasy on that topic by an author with some good medical fu does sound cool...

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1